Except a vaccine represents just one approach to dealing with COVID-19 and, most likely, is not the panacea that we all long for. Vaccine distribution will take time to reach all corners of the world. Not everyone can or will choose to vaccinate themselves and their loved ones and for those who do so, vaccines require one- to two months to develop antibody protection. The elderly and immuno-compromised typically respond poorly to vaccines.
Even in the best-case scenario, vaccines would not provide a solution that is available tomorrow. A belt-and-suspenders approach — the development of safe, effective treatments along with the vaccine — provides multiple routes to ending the pandemic and our best shot at finding treatments that will work for everyone. We still need a therapeutic option to vaccines for those who acquire COVID-19 — immediate treatment options that can reach the masses quickly.
My colleagues at Johns Hopkins and I are exploring a potential new outpatient solution, using blood plasma from individuals who defeated COVID-19 and are fully recovered. Our two clinical trials are the first multi-center, double-blind, randomized studies of outpatient convalescent plasma, designed to meet the highest levels of scientific rigor and deliver the fastest results.